Sunday, June 27, 2010

Project 4:4--Day One Hundred Fifty-Five

Day One Hundred Fifty-Five, I Kings 17-19

Today’s reading contains some of my favorite events in the life of the prophet Elijah. In fact, today’s reading is one thing after another that I just love about him. But rather than detail everything, as yesterday’s reading was so lengthy, I’ll try to just hit the main reasons why I love what I love about this reading. If you’re not familiar with it, look it up…starting in I Kings 17!

First of all, I am AMAZED at God’s provision! God makes sure Elijah is taken care of, and he makes sure the widow and her son are taken care of. Love His faithfulness.

Next we see Elijah perform the miracle of raising the widow’s son from the dead. Raising someone from the dead is the most impressive miracle we see done in the Bible, but about a year ago, one of my favorite Bible teachers pointed out the contrast between when we see Jesus raise someone from the dead and when we see anyone else raise someone from the dead. Whether it is Elijah or Elisha or Peter or Paul…we see the person praying repeatedly, seemingly begging the Lord to bring the person back to life. A couple of times, the person praying will also throw themselves down over the body of the deceased as they are begging God for that person’s life. Very interesting contrast with Jesus Himself, who, as God-in-the flesh, has ultimate authority over death. Whenever Jesus raises someone from the dead, there is no begging, no pleading, no throwing his body over on the deceased. He simply says, “Get up.” Or “Come forth.” He speaks, and it is.

I love the ultimate test that Elijah has with the prophets of Baal. I love how God so completely demonstrates His power and the fact that He is the One True God. When this happens, Queen Jezebel is livid. She vows to herself that she will kill Elijah before another day passes.

And this is where we see the human side of Elijah. He feels afraid. And, perhaps even worse, he feels alone. He leaves the country, flees to Judah and hides there, asking God to take his life. How can this incredible man of God be so depressed? But more importantly, how does God respond to him?

Jehovah Jireh again provides food for Elijah. With that, he is strengthened for a forty day journey to Mount Horeb, probably better-known as Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. Here, on this mountain, where God first revealed Himself to His people the Israelites, the Lord is going to reveal His presence to Elijah.

So while Elijah is in the cave at Mount Horeb, the voice of the Lord comes to Elijah not in a violent wind, nor in an earthquake, nor in a fire, but in a gentle whisper. I love this part of the story, just because it’s a reminder that God is not always what you expect Him to be and you have to be willing to pay attention to be able to hear Him.

The Lord then reminds Elijah that, “You are not alone here. I am still in charge here. I’ve got people that I will put in place of Ahab and Jezebel, and I’ve got someone to succeed you as a prophet to my people. I have reserved seven thousand in Israel who are still faithful to Me.” (I’m paraphrasing.) So the Lord sends him back to Israel, where he called Elisha to follow him and succeed him as a prophet.

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